Iron Man (song)

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This article is about the song by Black Sabbath. For the song by The Tansads, see The Tansads.
"Iron Man"
Single by Black Sabbath
from the album Paranoid
B-side "Electric Funeral"
Released October 1971
Format 45 RPM
Recorded 1970
Genre Heavy metal
Length 3:33 (single)
5:56 (album)
Label Warner Bros. (US/Canada)
Writer(s) Iommi, Osbourne, Butler, Ward
Producer(s) Rodger Bain
Black Sabbath singles chronology
"Iron Man"
"After Forever"
Paranoid track listing
"Planet Caravan"
"Iron Man"
"Electric Funeral"

"Iron Man" is a song by British rock band Black Sabbath. It is taken from their second studio album, Paranoid, released in 1970. It was later included on their initial greatest hits compilation We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'n' Roll (1976), as well as all subsequent greatest hits compilations.

Writing and recording[edit]

The Iron Man riff. About this sound Play 

The song was originally entitled "Iron Bloke", a title conceived by vocalist Ozzy Osbourne.[1] Upon hearing the main guitar riff for the first time, Osbourne remarked that it sounded "like a big iron bloke walking about".[2] The title was later changed to "Iron Man", with Geezer Butler writing the lyrics around the title.

Butler wrote the lyrics as the story of a man who time travels into the future, and sees the apocalypse. In the process of returning to the present, he is turned into steel by a magnetic field. He is rendered mute, unable verbally to warn people of his time in the future and of the impending destruction. His attempts to communicate are ignored and mocked. This causes Iron Man to become angry, and drives his revenge on mankind, causing the destruction seen in his vision.[3]


This was the second Black Sabbath single in the US, but it was not released as a single in Britain. It got very little radio play in the US, but developed a cult following, which led to enough sales to give it a chart position.

A new version was included on the 1998 Reunion album. It won the Grammy for Best Metal Performance in 2000. Black Sabbath would win the same award fourteen years later with "God Is Dead?".

Ozzy recorded a new version of this for the 1994 Black Sabbath tribute album Nativity in Black. Ozzy also recorded a version of this with Busta Rhymes in 1998 for Bustas's album Extinction Level Event (Final World Front). The track was renamed "This Means War". The version with Busta Rhymes was included on the Black Sabbath tribute album Nativity in Black II. On his 2001 song "Get Me Through", Ozzy referenced this in the line, "I'm not the antichrist or the Iron Man".

Despite the song's title, it bears no connection to the Marvel Comics superhero character Iron Man, which was created and first appeared in Tales of Suspense #39, March 1963, seven years prior to the song's publication. The song has since become associated with the character by fans of both; the popular 2008 film Iron Man, based on the comic books, features an instrumental rendition of "Iron Man" during the credits. The film's novelization goes on to also state that the song is Tony Stark's favorite, hence why he picked the title to baptize his superhero alter-ego. In the 2012 film The Avengers, set in the same continuity as the Iron Man films, Tony Stark is seen wearing a Black Sabbath shirt when not in the Iron Man armor, as a tribute to the band and song.

In the film School of Rock, this is the first riff that Dewey (Jack Black) teaches the guitarist, Zack (Joey Gaydos, Jr.), along with "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple and "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC.

Frank Zappa once surprised members of Black Sabbath by covering this song with his own band at a gig that Sabbath attended.[4]

In 2007, Nissan used this in commercials for their pickup trucks.

Mac Sabbath, a fast food-themed Black Sabbath tribute band, wrote a parody version of "Iron Man" entitled "Frying Pan". A live recording of the band performing the song went viral in late 2014 and was covered by numerous international news sources, ranging from MTV to Fox News.[5][6]

Awards and accolades[edit]



In other media[edit]

  • In the Marvel Comics universe, it is implied through retcon that Tony Stark named his superhero identity Iron Man after the song, as he claims he was a fan of the band as a child. The song itself is featured in the 2008 Marvel Studios film Iron Man (closing credits), its initial trailer and the video game tie-in. In reference to the song, Stark wears a Black Sabbath T-shirt throughout the crossover film The Avengers.
  • A remixed version of the song by artist Junkie XL plays during some menus of the game, Forza Motorsport.
  • It is featured in 1999 movie Detroit Rock City.
  • It is featured in 2005 biographical movie Dogtown and Z-Boys.
  • The song was mashed up with the song "What U Gon' Do" by Lil' Jon & the Eastside Boyz for DJ Vlad & Roc Raida's 2006/2007 mashup mixtape, Rock Phenomenon.
  • Live performance of it was featured in the program Beat-Club.
  • A shorter but faster cover version is featured in the 2005 music video game Guitar Hero.
  • It is featured in the episode "For Better or Verse" of American TV series Beavis and Butt-Head. Also appears as an air guitar chant in the episode "Plate Frisbee" and the short "Frog Baseball".
  • It is featured in the episode "That Wrestling Show" of American television period sitcom That '70s Show.
  • It is featured in the episode "Bills are Made to be Broken" of the American animated sitcom King of The Hill.
  • It is featured in the episode "The Deer Hunters" of the American television series Gilmore Girls.
  • The band ArcAttack performed an instrumental cover of this song during the 7th season of America's Got Talent. Sharon Osbourne, one of the show's judges, remarked afterwards, "next time you do Iron Man, I know a singer that can sing for you."
  • It is featured in the episode "Anthology of Interest I" of American animated science fiction sitcom Futurama.
  • Main character Dewey Finn (Jack Black) plays its guitar riff to Zack Mooneyham (Joey Gaydos, Jr.) in 2003 movie School of Rock, in order to teach him about rock music.
  • An episode of Duckman ("Apocalypse Not") features the titular character singing the opening line while going on a self-indulgent rampage of destruction.
  • It is featured in The Simpsons episode "The President Wore Pearls", sung by Nelson Muntz. Nelson sings "I am Iron Man! Do do do do do do do vote for me!".
  • Wrestling tag team The Road Warriors used "Iron Man" as their entrance theme song while working in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA).
  • In the online game Marvel Super Hero Squad Online one of Iron Man's abilities is to play a one-second part of the song.


  1. ^ "Tony Iommi & Geezer Butler Interview - May 1994". Black Sabbath Online. 
  2. ^ Classic Albums - Paranoid, by Isis Productions/Eagle Rock Entertainment
  3. ^ "BLACK SABBATH - FAQ version 2.0". Black Sabbath Online. 
  4. ^ "Iron Man — Black Sabbath —". Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  5. ^ Lutes, Alicia (December 28, 2014). "Yes, There’s Really A McDonald’s-Themed Metal Band Called Mac Sabbath". MTV News. 
  6. ^ "McDonald's-themed Black Sabbath cover band is creepy". Fox News. December 26, 2014. 
  7. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. 9 December 2004. Retrieved 31 August 2009. 
  8. ^ "VH1 40 Greatest Metal Songs", 1–4 May 2006, VH1 Channel, reported by; last accessed 2008-07-15.
  9. ^ Billboard Singles for Black Sabbath at AllMusic
  10. ^ Bush, John. "Review: First Band on the Moon". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  11. ^ Collar, Matt. "Review: Give". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  12. ^ "Metallica - Iron Man (Black Sabbath cover)". YouTube. 2009-01-28. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  13. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  14. ^ "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Samples)". Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  15. ^ [1][dead link]

External links[edit]